The Impact of Stress on AMD

March 16, 2017

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss among older adults in the United States, is often associated with psychological stress. A simple stress rating scale (the Perceived Stress Scale) is a valid and useful way to evaluate the connection between stress and progressive vision loss from AMD, reported Bradley E. Dougherty, OD, PhD, of The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Patients with vision loss in AMD experience high rates of stress, anxiety, and other problems, including depression. Less is known about the relationship between the stress that AMD patients experience and the severity of their disease — for example, whether stress can cause AMD to worsen or not.

The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a well-established stress rating scale that can predict objective biological markers of stress, as well as the risk of stress-related diseases. In previous studies, the PSS has been shown to be predictive of general markers of inflammation, including C-reactive proteins. In the new study, Dr. Dougherty and colleagues extend the use of this survey to determine how well it measures perceived stress in patients with vision loss due to AMD.

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Vertical Reading to Aid Macular Degeneration

February 24, 2017

Individuals with macular degeneration often develop a Preferred Retinal Locus (PRL) used in place of the impaired fovea. It is known that many people adopt a PRL left of the scotoma, which is likely to affect reading by occluding text to the right of fixation. For such individuals, we examined the possibility that reading vertical text, in which words are rotated 90° with respect to the normal horizontal orientation, would be beneficial for reading. Vertically oriented words would be tangential to the scotoma instead of being partially occluded by it.

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Early Detection of Macular Degeneration

February 22, 2017

Dr. William Hart at Hart Eye Center in Lake Charles spends his days looking at patients’ eyes. One of the conditions he treats the most is macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease with both aging and genetic factors.

“That tiny spot that receives the light most clearly because of the way the retina is structured is called the macula,” explained Dr. Hart.  “Because of the anatomy of the macula, it’s vulnerable to vascular disease or degeneration of the macula.”

That can be seen most clearly through OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography, using infrared light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina.

“It’s a laser scanner essentially,” said Dr. Hart. “The patient puts their head up against the instrument and the technician then can center the patient’s eyes onto the machine and then hits the process to start. The scanning begins and the images produced.”

Dr. Hart dais what makes this technology so incredible is the power to see through the retina, which is like a window to the body’s blood vessels and undiagnosed vascular diseases.

“This allows us to look at the person’s retina if we’re starting to be even mildly suspicious and look at the blood vessel structure under the retina,” he said.

If a problem is detected, special vitamins can be prescribed, along with other therapies.

“We increase therapy or even use in some cases laser or injections of medicine that will stop the new blood vessel growth,” said Dr. Hart.

The biggest warning sign of macular degeneration is blurred vision. If left untreated, central vision loss typically occurs within 15 years. It is something that can be slowed with monitoring and treatment.

Macular degeneration generally begins in people between the ages of 55 and 65. It is important to have routine eye exams as you age, to stay on top of any vision changes.

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Orange County NC Library News

February 22, 2017

The following is by Jason Richmond, Librarian

Subject: Accessability Grant

As we head towards a New Year, I wanted to share with all of you the progress that has been made with the Accessible Library Project. The State Library awarded us funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to make our services and collections more accessible and to hold programming raising disability awareness. Many of the big, visible parts of the plan haven’t been implemented yet but the foundations have been laid for an exciting start to 2017.

In October, the Triangle Disability Awareness Council led a great training on awareness and customer service for all library staff. Our librarians valued the chance to ask questions and learn about more ways they can assist all those who may come through our doors. Thank you again to all the trainers that made the trek up to Hillsborough!

November brought a makerspace to the library that showcased ways tinkering and technology can be leveraged to help others in our community. Participants in our workshops adapted toys by adding accessible switches and learned about creating prosthetic hands using 3D printers.

Assistive technology hardware has arrived at the library and will become available to the public by February. Library staff will be training on our new video magnifiers and assistive listening kits over the next couple weeks. For Disability Awareness Month in March the library will be working with the Triangle Disability Awareness Council again to hold educational and engaging programs.

A big thank you to each and every one of you! All of your support in time, encouragement and expertise has made this possible. Thank you to all the library staff who are making disability services part of their daily commitment to our community. And thank you to the library’s leaders, Lucinda and Andrea, who have made disability services a priority of the library and supported this initiative from the start.

The library will be sharing more information about our activities throughout the coming months as more services become available. If you have any questions please reach me at my contact information below.



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ZoomText & E-Mail

January 26, 2017

The following is by Lauren Tappan.

Urgent News for Zoom Text users.  Go to Ai-Squared and up-date Zoom Text from this site.There will be text support people to help you with this this weekend.  Their note said that

If you do not do this u-date/ Zoom Text will not work for you.  You have to go through theAi-Squared site because other methods will not completely download this new version.

If you decide to up-grade your e-mail program, be sure to first contact Ai-Squared to make sure, that your new e-mail program works well with Zoom Text.  They suggested Outlook 2016 which might be harder and harder to find.

We have noticed that the text on Outlook 2016 was very faint and hard to read.  We made a few adjustments and it is better but needs more work.  Ai-Squared said that if we getZoom Text 11 these problems will be fixed.  They suggested downloading Zoom Text 11Test to see if it repairs the text reading problem.


Dear Ai Squared Customer,

You should have received a notification from Ai Squared making you aware that due to a digital certificate issue the current versions of ZoomText and Window-Eyes applications will need to be updated in order to work after January 26. Any copies of these applications that have not been updated, will no longer run after January 26, 2017.

Information about this issue, affected products, and links for download updates that fix these problems are now available at

In order to better serve you, Ai Squared technical support will be available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern on both Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29. For access to this weekend support, call the technical support line  (727) 803-8600 and follow the prompts. Please listen carefully as the options have changed.

Thank you for your patience and concern while we deal with the digital certificate issue.

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Wet Macular Degeneration Drug May Reduce Number of Injections Needed

January 21, 2017

An experimental drug, AXT107, may one day make treatment simpler for patients with age-related macular degeneration, according to research published in the January 18 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

“We anticipate injection of AXT107 in humans may have a substantially longer effect than current treatment,” lead researcher Peter Campochiaro, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told HealthDay. “Instead of eye injections every four to six weeks, we hope it would be several months between injections.”

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Macular Degeneration Related to Altzheimer’s

December 19, 2016

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among the elderly, is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease. A study has revealed that the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease can accumulate in the retina and damage it. The researchers are hopeful their findings can work to improve treatment methods.

Using both cell cultures and mouse models, the scientists analyzed how quickly amyloid-beta proteins (associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease) entered the retina and how much damage they caused.

The researchers found that the amyloid-beta proteins enter the retina within 24 hours of exposure and then start breaking the cellular scaffold structures.

Dr. Ratnayaka added, “The speed in which these proteins entered the retinal cells was unexpected. These findings have given some insights into how a normal healthy retina can switch to a diseased AMD retina. We hope that this could lead to designing better treatments for patients in the future.”

The researchers’ next step is evaluating how amyloid-beta proteins enter the retina and examining how the damage occurs.

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